Every year the sun rises high across the African continent and a long, languid voice from mosques reach across the land, calling Muslims to the season of Ramadan, a month-long annual fast.
Internally, reasons for participating in the fast differ from person to person, but the overall aspiration for Ramadan according to most Muslims is to seek forgiveness from Allah and center their thoughts on him.
IMB photo by Jedediah Smith
Washing before prayers is an essential practice for Muslims across the world. In Africa, small pots of water are used to clean hands, feet, and heads so that Allah will find their prayers acceptable. Washing provides a time to focus and prepare their hearts for reciting their prayers.
For an entire lunar month, Muslims across Africa refrain from consuming food or drinks for the duration of the lunar cycle from sunrise to sunset. They are also encouraged to pray and focus their attention on Allah, earning favor by fasting during the daylight hours.
Ramadan is much more than a time of fasting, it is an intensely spiritual time where many Muslims spend focused time in prayer at home or the mosque, seeking to draw closer to Allah. Many Muslims also spend time talking about their faith among family members and giving alms to the poor. Fasting and giving to the poor are important because they fulfill two of the five pillars of Islam. The other pillars include praying five times a day, pilgrimage to Mecca, and the testimony of their faith and belief in the prophet Mohammed.
When the sun sinks below the horizon, families gather together to share a meal, celebrating late in to the night. As Ramadan draws to a close, one of the most significant nights in the year awaits Muslims. It is known as the “Night of Power.”
Night of Power
In the final 10 days of Ramadan it is believed by Muslims that Mohammed received the first revelation of the Qur’an. Because of this, Muslims believe that during the 26th night of Ramadan, the heavens will be pulled open and Allah will hear their prayers. It has been continually documented that during this night, all across Africa, Muslims encounter Christ in their dreams.
Whether beckoning them to follow Him, or telling them He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, many Muslims have come to know Christ when He speaks to them on a night when they are seeking spiritual truth.
With this in mind, the need for intercessory prayer in the days surrounding the Night of Power is extremely important. We need to pray God speaks directly and clearly to those who are seeking after Him.
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